Updated: Sep 13, 2021
"Do you know that your redevelopment proposal may be affected by presence of existing MRT tunnels?"
Image Source: LTA
Railway Protection Zone (RPZ) was introduced to prevent any damage to existing railway track which will result in enormous economic damage and endanger the lives of passengers. The RPZ is an area measuring 40m from the edge of the tunnel on both sides. The RPZ is further divided into 3 zones, 1st Reserve, 2nd Reserve and 3rd Reserve.
The 1st Reserve is the area measuring 6m from the edge of the tunnels on both sides. Many construction works are prohibited within the 1st Reserve. The most significant restriction is that pilings are not allowed within the 1st Reserve. This means that any redevelopment within the 1st Reserve is extremely prohibitive as intensifying the land usage will most like require stronger foundation which are usually achieved by piling. For example, redeveloping an existing one-storey terrace into three-storey terrace may be impossible within the 1st reserve especially for Kallang Formation area (Read up https://www.thepropertychest.com/post/landed-redevelopment-geotechnical-investigation to find out more about different Geotechnical Formation in Singapore).
The 2nd Reserve is the area between 3m from the edge of the tunnel to the ground surface by drawing an 45 degrees line on both sides of the tunnels. There are still many restrictive activities for 2nd Reserve but piling is allowed within 2nd Reserve. However, piles which falls within the zone of influence as demarcated by the 45 degree line shall be debonded. This means that the piles are generally deeper than piles outside 2nd Reserve given the same soil conditions. Hence, due to deeper piles, the construction cost will increase due to additional material and debonding membrane.
The 3rd Reserve is between 2nd Reserve to 40m from the edge of tunnel. There are not many significant difference between 3rd Reserve and area outside of RPZ. However, submission to DBC Rail is still required and approval to be obtained before construction may commence.
In summary, it is usually more costly and time-consuming to redevelop a unit within the RPZ. It is also generally not recommended to redevelop a unit within the 1st Reserve due to the complexity.
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